Today we’d like to introduce you to omó pastor.
Thanks for sharing your story with us omó. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
My popsi asked me one day when I was six, we were standing in the bathroom together one morning, and he asked the infamous question ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ and, without hesitation, I said ‘a writer.’ I started writing at age six or seven, where I would write short stories in my classes just for fun. I picked up a camera briefly when I was eight because I was one of the children often in after school and one day, I learnt about a photography team where the teacher gave us disposable cameras and took us on a walk to capture our neighborhood. That was the start of my documentarian style of art. Thinking back on it, I actually was reprimanded by my mother for doing so without her consent in which I can understand her actions. Fast forward to my senior year in High School, I was one of the photographers for the yearbook team, and one thing that intrigued me most about my position, at the time, was the access it gave me. Capturing artists and documenting memories became a high for me, and as a writer, it helped me add more depth to my storytelling skills.
I shifted my focus when I started to dig much deeper in the role of artists as activists. MK Asante’s book “It’s Bigger Than Hip Hop: The Post-Hip Hop Generation” inspired my artistry causing it to fully shift to advocacy through art. Growing up, my parents would often call me an advocate, or lawyer, because I would, and still, often speak up against, and for, those who do wrong, or are being wronged. One of my proudest moments as an advocate was back when I was nine, and I just arrived at a new school. I learnt there was a basketball team that we can join and compete against other schools which made me excited until I heard my grade level was permitted from trying out for the team. Imagine. I took matters into my own hands and decided administration must hear my voice, so I wrote a letter where I vividly remember expressing to them their offense, and the only susceptible solution for my grade level. I was successful in opening the try-outs to my grade level and moving forward with the team.
Now, I focus on connecting the Diaspora with Continental Africa to enhance our understanding of the complexities of our Blackness, of ourselves as both an individual and collective. Through this, I explore masculinity, femininity, patriarchy, matriarchy, pre and post-African societies and the Diaspora as well as examining cultures and spirituality. We are a beautiful people because through it all we have still been able to do so with laughter in our breaths. As I navigate through my art, I bring myself clarity on how to effectively mix being both Yorùbá and being born and raised in New York.
We, and by ‘we’ I reference all the energies within me – lifting, guiding and protecting me, are only here today through hard work, procrastination, dedication, knowledge and exploration. My Universe is made up of my Orí, Ancestors, Òrìṣàs and all the forces opening and closing paths for me. For that, we give thanks.
Has it been a smooth road?
Most roads in life are struggles to the human eye, but overall the journey has been up and down. We come from the ground, we come from toxic environments, we come from pressure -both external and internal- and go through life in search of what works often being met with what does not work for us. That is part of the journey. Some days we lacked funds, some days we lacked physical guidance, some days we spent going through a roller coaster of emotions and off loading ourselves, some days we spent focused, some days we spent high off blessings; it all is a journey. A marathon in the words of Nipsey Hussle, and we are present for it. Through it all, we give thanks to our ‘GPS’; we are no longer moving blindly.
We’d love to hear more about your work.
Storyteller and documentarian through novels, poetry, photography and film.
Is our city a good place to do what you do?
I’m from New York. New York has its pros and cons. It is good for art, but our Predominantly Black & Brown – communities have limited resources, so we are stuck making a way out of literally nothing. We make it happen, nonetheless.
- Gaze – $30
- Prints – $25-$30
- Website: www.omopastor.com
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/omopastorr
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/omopastor
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